For the First Time

I’ve been working for a long time.

I was in the 8th grade when I got my first job and I’ve been working ever since.  For the most part, I’ve loved having a job.  When I was younger I loved the extra money and the independence it gave me (as well as the sense of importance).  As I got older I just liked meeting people and work is just one of those places where you meet people.  I’ve been an antique store clerk, a video/ice cream shop clerk, a waitress and a short order cook, a Subway sandwich artist, a telemarketer, a data entry person… I’ve worked Shopko, a grocery store, a speaker factory (literally the only job I’ve ever hated).  I’ve done hotel housekeeping, residence life at college and finally… teaching.

What never actually occurred to me until very recently is that I’ve been incredibly lucky.  I’ve had wonderful bosses this entire time.  I am a person to make the best of a situation so I’ve always tried to make work fun and enjoy what I’m doing but I’ve never had to suffer under a bad boss or even one I seriously disliked…. until now.

My old boss of 12 years retired at the end of last school year.  I’m happy for him.  I adore that guy and while he wasn’t perfect by any means, he was someone I could always count on to be as fair as he could and who would treat me with respect.  I never realized how much I took him for granted until this school year when he is no longer at my place of employment.

I started out the school year really liking my new boss.  He’s funny and seemingly easy going, a bit uptight about giving up any sort of decision making power but I figured it was just because he didn’t know me or my department and we would soon develop a good, working rapport.

Nope.  Things have only gone downhill since the beginning of the year.  Every week he does something which makes me furious.  It’s not about the amount of work he wants us to do (which is a ton) in what is, essentially a rough transition year for everyone involved due to new work demands in the first place.  It’s not the work.  I’m not afraid of hard work and I often make more work for myself by being a perfectionist and trying to improve every single year.  It’s his attitude.  He gets snippy.  He hates taking individual circumstances into consideration… something I was incredibly used to with my old boss.  If you approach him after something that has upset him (and you have no idea it’s happened) you can be prepared to get your head bitten off.  He is telling my department to focus on something which is impractical without first doing something else… and won’t take the time to look at what he’s telling us to focus on to understand why that is true.  He just keeps saying he doesn’t understand why it’s a problem while also saying he’s not overly familiar with the standards but it seems like it should be a simple thing.  

He doesn’t read emails.  He skims them.  He misses questions in emails or details in emails and he never responds to them.  Oh, but he also doesn’t want people pestering him in person.  We have a new boss who has new rules and new goals for all of us and he is, unfortunately, not interested in answering questions.  I asked a question just yesterday to make sure I understood what he wanted and instead of answering “yes” or “no” he went into an exasperated explanation of his logic behind his decision…. making me feel like an idiot because I wasn’t trying to question his logic.

At first I thought it was just me.  I had a really good relationship with my old boss and he and I had a lot of mutual trust and respect.  I thought maybe I was just taking the loss of “power and opinion” hard.  But no… there are grumbles all over the building.  He has apparently snapped at everyone for little reason.  He has apparently ignored most people’s questions or emails.  He apparently doesn’t care if he wastes everyone’s time as long as they don’t waste his.

It’s infuriating.

And the school secretary… who at the end of last year was barely even speaking to my old boss (long story involving personal affairs and whatnot) just said to me “I miss the professional relationship I had with <old boss>”.  

It’s good to know it’s not just me.  But I hate that this guy makes me dread going to work.  I hate that he’s taken something I love and tinged it with a negative vibe.  It seems like I can’t escape him, either.  He’s everywhere.  I cannot avoid talking to him every single day.  I try.  I look busy, I duck into a classroom when he’s coming.  Maybe I’m being overly obvious at this point but I cannot stand to talk to him anymore.

I once thought I would retire at the school I work for.

I now know that’s impossible and it makes me sad.

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And here I thought I was kicking ass…

I know it’s been a while since I posted.  I have excuses.. allow me to list them.

Last week was crazy at work.  We had a big project in one of my classes, plus there was a school-wide project which culminated on Friday so things were crazy at work.  By the time I got home at night, put in my 1.5 hours of exercise, ate dinner, showered, gave the cats sufficient attention, and perused the job listings… I was beyond tired.

Plus… Monday night there was that whole… April Exercise challenge report that threw me into a bit of a funk.  I was fully expecting to be the top person on my team again… or at least CLOSE to the top person on my team.  I had 9.5 hours that I’d reported and when I got the reporting email… the top person on my team had done 18 hours.

Naturally, I immediately called them a liar.

I mean, I smoked the entire office the week before with 10.5 hours and someone comes out of nowhere with 18?  Excuse me?

I stewed over that, folks, and I’m not all that proud to admit it either.  Instead of focusing on my success in general, I was totally peeved at this person.  This person also beat me out this past week, but only by 1.25 hours.  I had 11 hours for last week and they evidently had 12.25.  Whatever.  The big picture here? My team is looking like we might be the winners!  I’ll take that… and maybe next year I can do something incredibly insane to be the overall winner.  I don’t know though, 18 hours in a week seems pretty steep.  If it were warmer and I was riding my bike… possibly.  I just don’t know.

So yeah, I got sidetracked and started with the negative thinking….which led to selfish thinking…which led to me being totally preoccupied with myself….which led to me spending senseless energy doing nothing but huffing and puffing and feeling angry.  Why did I let that happen?

I’m still kicking ass though… my own.  I have to keep reminding myself not to push it with the running.  I have begun googling to see if I can find other people who have the high heart rate problem I have and I’ve found a couple of threads that mention it… but nothing which gives it a medical name, and nothing that really gives much advice other than “do what it takes to keep your heart rate at 85% of maximum.”  You know… that would pretty much leave me “jogging” at a slower pace than I walk.  I am encouraged to see that others have this problem and they’re not all overweight… and they seem to be in various levels of physical fitness… so I’m going to keep researching and see what I can come up with…. because…. man… I had really forgotten how much it sucks when my heart rate jumps up into that 185 – 195 zone after about 2 minutes of jogging… and then trying to keep jogging.  It’s HARD.

Just keep moving forward, right?

This is what it’s like to be me..

This is when it gets frustrating.  This is when I’d like to scream…. or cry.

I went to the chiropractor last night.  Now, don’t get me wrong, without my chiropractor I’d be unable to do half of the things I’m currently capable of doing.  I remember the days before I found chiropractic, the days when I was always hypersensitive to stimuli, when I could hardly stand to wear a winter coat for the weight it put on my neck/shoulders.  So please don’t get me wrong, I love my chiropractic care and, for that matter, my chiropractor.  So I went last night.

Now, everything should be peachy for at least a few days, right?

No.

I woke up this morning with a migraine.  Migraines mean my neck is out.  It hadn’t yet been 12 hours since I’d left the chiropractor.  All I did was sleep. (This is where I want to scream and cry and insert a string of expletives into that sentence.)  All I did was sleep.

And, you know something?   Before I really started putting things together with my suspected collagen disorder (joint hypermobility, a type of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), I would have blamed myself for this. I would have wondered if maybe I should be doing those neck exercises MORE, or maybe I haven’t been working out well enough or often enough (I never said I was rational all the time).  In fact, my own attorney made me wonder what was wrong with me once when he said my chiropractic care was “aggressive” when he found out I went once a week, every week.  All I could think was “Aggressive?  I couldn’t make it two weeks without going, I’d be in too much pain.”

But in reality.  My joints – and that includes my spine – aren’t actually capable of maintaining proper position because I lack a strong enough form of collagen.    I mean, I’m working on strengthening things but… it’s an uphill battle.

Today I’m not at work.  Today I am totally wallowing in self pity.

Today I totally got a free adjustment because my chiropractor loves me.

Today I’m feeling sorry for myself.

Tomorrow I’ll give everyone an anatomy lesson.